Yes, we all love summer, with its long days and warm evenings. We often reserve this time of year for fresher dishes, since it's hot out and there are so many vegetables in the markets. I'm a stew person, though, and regardless of the time of year, I love nothing more than to set a dish up to braise at low temperatures until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender. And since it's tomato season, the stews I make this time of year are usually full of them.
This stew is rich and meaty, while still taking advantage of the incredible bounty of tomatoes that is no doubt overflowing your counters and crisper drawers this late in the season. It takes a few hours to cook, so it's a great candidate for a weekend supper or a low-maintenance weeknight slow cooker meal (cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours). I recommend picking up a fresh loaf of crusty bread to sop up whatever's left at the bottom of the bowl. If you want to add a little heat, try adding 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the rest of the seasonings.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:3 1/2 hours (or 6 to 8 hours in a slow cooker)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 pounds tomatoes, peele, deseeded, and roughly chopped or 1 (28-ounce) and 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and roughly crushed by hand
- 2 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves.
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 225°F. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven on high heat until shimmering. Sear pork cubes on all sides. Remove pork from the Dutch oven and add white wine. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 1 minute, scraping up all the browned bits with a wooden spoon or stiff spatula.
Return onions and pork to Dutch oven, then add tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, cilantro, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until pork is completely tender, about 3 hours. Alternatively, transfer mixture to a slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours (see note).
Remove from oven. Set the Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat (if using slow cooker, transfer contents to Dutch oven). Stir together cornstarch and cold water in a cup until completely mixed. Pour cornstarch into stew and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid in the stew has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir half of parsley into stew, sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.